Millennials get blamed for a lot of things in our current society but like them or not, the millennials (a.k.a, Generation Y – 1980-early 2000’s) have changed the way we eat. According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, eating out has increased to a record high 43.5% as compared to the 25.9% of the population in 1970. Millennials are not just eating out more, they are eating healthier. They also love to be presented with choices when deciding on a meal. With the rise in popularity of food halls in major cities, millennials – along with the older generation – are finding a new way to eat healthy and quickly.
I recently published a post on this blog, “September Food Trends”, and in it I discussed the rise of food halls in the United States, specifically in New York. According to the Wall Street Journal and Eater, the number of food halls in the US grew by 37% in 2016 and they are predicted to double by 2019. There is a tremendous amount of potential in this area for vendors and consumers alike.
Personally, I love all types of food from standard European cuisine (Italian, Greek, and Spanish) to the exotic, such as, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, or Ethiopian. This is a trend I knew I could embrace because I love having different options ( especially healthy ones) and I like to eat quickly without going to a typical fast food restaurant. One of the newest food halls I came across was DeKalb Market Hall in Brooklyn.
It opened in June 2017 and seemed like an excellent option to start exploring food halls. Luckily I am currently dating someone who is always ready to drop everything whenever I mention food and he was more than happy to accompany me on this journey.
Once we were firmly ensconced in the food hall, one particular vendor caught our eye immediately, Pierogi Boys. This was a small booth with six bar stools surrounding the “kitchen” which consisted of a table, stove, fridge and a cash register. Pierogi Boys offers three different types of pierogis containing sauerkraut and mushroom, cheese or meat. A single order is six pierogi; we settled on splitting six sauerkraut and mushroom pierogis for $12.50. These are not your supermarket frozen pierogi, these are hand rolled and stuffed with love and boiled in water immediately kind of pierogi.
While we waited we watched in awe as these two women rolled out individual pieces of dough, stuffed them with sauerkraut and mushroom, and then gently pinched the dough together before dropping them in the water. These pierogi were absolutely delicious; they were not rubbery or chewy and the dough was perfectly thin to hold the sauerkraut and mushroom stuffing. It was topped with some mushroom broth and dill for flavor; we added some sour cream on the side and it was like something you would get from a babcia (grandma) who just arrived from Poland.
After the pierogis, we wandered around looking for our second option. We noticed a lot of desserts, vegan options, sandwiches, seafood, bbq, and other ethnic foods. My bloodhound of a boyfriend and this days eating partner, saw someone walk past him with a Korean bun and we ended up on quite the scavenger hunt trying to find them. After scouring the hall, we ended up in front of a Vietnamese stand and he was convinced this was the holy grail of Korean buns; I tried to explain to him using logic, reason, and facts this was not the place for Korean buns BUT he refused to listen. He initially thought he was ordering small Korean buns stuffed with mushrooms. In his mind they were small, so he ordered three and that ended up being enough food to fill a family of 12. Without admitting defeat, yet, he realized he may be making a mistake when the bill came to $50 for what seemed like three small buns. It was at this moment he admitted he was wrong (it took me 2 minutes to regain consciousness from hearing the admission) and we settled on ordering one mushroom sandwich (which we split) for $12 and sat down at their bar seats. The sandwich was quite tasty and pretty filing; it featured large pieces of mushroom topped with carrots, Havarti cheese and greens on a roll (not a Korean bun) and toasted.
After finishing our Vietnamese sandwich, the search for the Korean buns continued. Thankfully we decided to ask the woman sitting down at a table and chairs near us where the buns came from and she pointed us in the right direction.
On the way to the Korean bun stand, we had a tough time saying no to the large, glistening, beautiful croissants and glorious poke bowls that almost seemed to whisper our names as we passed them. We passed bbq meats, a cheese counter, deli sandwiches, Chinese, key lime pie, taco and arepas.
We made it to the back corner of the food hall where Bunsmith is located and without ordering another $50 in food, we indulged in some amazing Korean buns. There were a lot of delightful options at this stand including buns and bowls of beef, pork, tofu, artichoke and vegetarian options.
We stopped at the other stands to read their menus but we were both too full to continue eating. DeKalb Market Hall was a little smaller than I had imagined, but they did have a lot of options. There are also a number of seating options: some places have bar seating, there are tables evenly spaced around the hall, booths along the side and bars where you can stand and eat.
DeKalb Market Hall also houses a Trader Joes should you want to buy any of their prepared items for lunch or need to go food shopping. Whether you are an indecisive millennial looking for vegan options for lunch where you can stand alone and scroll through your Instagram, or a hungry baby boomer looking to sit down and enjoy a hearty meal with friends at a table, or some stubborn NJ professor who thinks Vietnamese mushroom sandwiches are the same as Korean buns, DeKalb Market Hall is a great place to explore.
DeKalb Market Hall
445 Albee Sq. Brooklyn, NY 11201